California Is Booming. But Californians Are Unhappy Reply

The New York Times
Conor Dougherty

Fire, garbage and homelessness increasingly plague the Golden State.

SAN FRANCISCO — Christine Johnson, a public-finance consultant with an engineering degree, was running for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

She crisscrossed her downtown district talking about her plans to stimulate housing construction, improve public transit and deal with the litter of “needles and poop” that have become a common sight on the city’s sidewalks. More…

Chinese scientist who edited twin babies’ genes jailed for 3 years Reply

CNN

Updated 3:30 AM ET, Mon December 30, 2019
(CNN) – A Chinese scientist who helped create the world’s first gene-edited babies has been sentenced to three years in prison.

He Jiankui shocked the world in 2018 when he announced that twin girls Lulu and Nana had been born with modified DNA to make them resistant to HIV, which he had managed using the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 before birth. More…

Keith Preston Joins Extremist Hall of Fame: Banned from Facebook 5

Apparently, I am now under a total ban from Facebook. I’ve encountered more Facebook censorship in the past year than I did in the previous ten years combined. First, Facebook shut down my primary account. I had two back up accounts, one active and one inactive. The second account was shut down, followed by the third one. The Zucker no like me, I guess, lol. As they say, you can judge a man by his enemies. 🙂 Let that be what it will.

In the future, I will likely be exploring other social media options. In the meantime, those who are used to communicating with on Facebook should use the Contact page on this site instead.

Some People Who Actually Didn't Suck In 2019 1

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

I love holiday traditions, dearest motherfuckers, and every year since I started this blog several years ago, I’ve welcomed in the new year by compiling a short list of the few people on this goddess forsaken rock who actually managed the small miracle of not sucking, or at least not sucking much, this year. Naturally, it’s usually a pretty weird fucking list because, generally speaking, you have to be pretty fucking weird to earn the respect of a pretty fucking weird ass bitch like me. This year is no exception. It’s a regular rogues gallery of contrarian fire-starters and Molotov chucking iconoclasts like myself. You won’t like all of em. Hell, I don’t even like all of em. But if I’ve done my job right, and you’re not a total fucking asshole, you’ll at least respect them begrudgingly. So here’s a dastardly dozen (give or take) dearest motherfuckers who actually don’t suck. With one telltale finger in the air, I solute them.

Mike Gravel-  The only oxygenarian bitch who should have taken the White House by storm, crazy Old Man Gravel, ex-Alaskan Governor, bitter old coot and lifelong evangelist for direct democracy, ran for all but a hot second this year. But what a fucking second! The last true anti-interventionist in my soiled former party, Gravel blitzed the DNC like Don Quixote on Geritol, with a guerrilla campaign that literally consisted of a handful of rag-tag college stoners using their spare pot money to make Mike the libertarian socialist Bernie. And they might just have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for those meddling adults in the suicidally self-assure Democratic establishment, who used their arcane debate regulations to fuck the old bastard out of a platform. Fuck it. Best laid plans. Thanks for the memories, Mike. We’ll build you a monument after the revolution. And, once again, thanks Geritol.

Joaquin Phoenix-  Hollywood has long been a fucking wasteland for anything even mildly resembling the dangers of unfiltered creativity. But every once and a while, someone, somehow sneaks something truly subversive passed the censors and into the theaters, and the normies lose their proverbial shit. There hasn’t been a blockbuster as teemingly incendiary as this year’s Joker since Oliver Stone’s psychedelic opus, Natural Born Killers, and the maniacal performance of Joaquin Phoenix is the number one reason why. Like Woody Harrelson’s Mickey Knox, Joaquin hijacks that silver screen for 2+ hours of riving anarchy as Arthur Fleck aka the Joker.

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Typhus, Torchwood, Chaos, and Immortality: Am I the Face of Boa? Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

The Doctor Who spin-off that speaks to the invincible community, or: How I survived a typhus coma without any competent medical help.

I’m immortal, son, and you ain’t. But it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and I like your tie.

Almost a year after falling into a should-have-been-fatal coma due to complications of typhus (yes, the medieval/concentration camp disease; welcome to Los Angeles!) I celebrated my deathaversary last night by searching for confirmation that…

A. Typhus — that is, scrub typhus, the kind I had — actually CAN cause hallucinations, and I wasn’t just imagining all that shit, and…

B. It’s possible to survive that shit without major medical intervention.

According to the Indian physicians who have actually seen enough cases of this crap to have an informed medical opinion, A. is true. But B.? Not so much. If you’re so far gone you’re seeing shit, your next stop on the typhus bus is losing the use of your legs, and then you arrive at Grim Reaper Grand Terminal. Can you elude his Typhus Scythe?

Only if you’re fucking invincible. Only if you’re me.

For those who haven’t been playing along at home, last year my dumbshit landlord and/or roommate let my cat out in Lawndale, California, close to the epicenter of the LA typhus neo-epidemic; cat got fleas, fleas bit me, and a rash and a fever and a couple of office visits to incompetent physicians later, I fell into a bizarre waking coma.

Somehow these “doctors” were able to diagnose me with typhus, but were unable to look up typhus on Google and find the specific antibiotic that doctors in India have found to be effective — doxycycline. Instead they threw stronger and stronger versions of random antibiotics at it till they blew out my digestive tract, which was the beginning of the end.

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AirBnB and LA’s Housing Hell, PART THREE: The Killing Fields Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

In which the conspiracy sends a teenager to try to disgustingly fuck me (so what else is new?) and tragically kills my little cat.

Something (Else) Rotten in the State of California

In California, I soon discovered, AirBnB has metastasized into a whole new economic underworld.

The ridiculous prices listed on regular apartment rental sites are just the tip of the vast iceberg of housing limbo that lies between the penthouse and the tent-house. There’s still that high-rent bulge at the top of the market, and that high-visibility explosion at the very bottom, where long-term homeless bunker down in their hand-built trash castles. But there’s also a melon-sized colonic tumor on the bottom-middle end of the socio-economic ladder — where the “normal” rental market no longer functions, even if you aren’t quite camped on the sidewalk — and it’s become a crazy little society unto its own.

(Catch-up: Click here to read Part I and/or Click here to read Part II.)

Like Uber, the AirBnB site began with all kinds of yammering about the sharing economy. In theory it was designed for vacations.

The bottom has opened out into insane goddamn tenements that operate beyond the pale.

Remember those delusional show-biz kids who all need housing (Click here to read Part II)? Most of them have no real job skills that would allow them to pay the rent on an apartment. And not all of them have rich parents.

But most of them are filthy assholes, as I was soon to find out. Christ, even the young poors are entitled slobs now.

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AirBnB and Los Angeles’ Housing Hell: PART TWO. Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

THE FILTHENING. Oh, and how I could have escaped.

Peace Is For People Who Know How to Drive

My lease in Chicago was ending, but Hammer Man took his sweet time. He and Psycho Roommate were supposedly cleaning the place up, but a month after I forked over $1700, they hadn’t begun. They were very busy and important people, and they would need another month.

Note: If you have a normal attention span and you want to begin this tale at the beginning, CLICK HERE to read Part I of this series.

My lease in Chicago wasn’t going to give me another month. Furthermore, every day I stayed in my apartment was another day my rapist had to come back at his leisure and maybe kill me for real this time. Oh God, Ann, shut up and don’t tempt the Fates.

Pffffft. If there are Fates, they are so incoherent, I’m firing them from this story. You hear that, Fates? YOU ARE FIRED.

Fortunately, the writer Jim Goad was kind enough to say yes when I asked if I could sleep on his couch in rural Georgia. (He doesn’t live in a couch; he has a house. Actually, two, but that’s a whole other hilarious story.) Well, I flew to Georgia (yes indeed, the devil went down), but I didn’t actually sleep on the couch. Which wasn’t as much fun as it should have been due to the urinary tract infection I got due to being shot up with every goddamn antibiotic ever invented post-rape, but it was good anyway.

In fact, it was lovely. Jim told me that people are often surprised that he is quite tender, because of all that stuff in ANSWER ME! and whatnot. Which is a bit shocking to me, because if you do read ANSWER ME! (and all the hundreds of thousands of words he’s written subsequently) and you are actually literate, you get an eerily accurate picture of his character: straightforward but kind.

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AirBnB: The Weird Measure of LA’s Housing Hell. PART ONE. Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

In which a refugee from whatever the hell Chicago has become prepares to confront whatever the hell LA has become.

Beautiful LA street scene
LA is a land of stunning beauty….

Yes, it’s very easy to get shot through the head if you stay in Chicago. Or raped through the ass, eye, vag, head, or elbow. But if you want to move to the real second city, get ready for a real trip to the third world. Well, unless you have $3000 you can spend every month on rent.

How bad is the rental market in Los Angeles? Whatever you imagine the level of befucklement to be, double it, and there’s your low-water mark. It rises.

True, the prices for rental listings aren’t as bad as San Francisco or New York City. Per Rentcafe, Los Angeles is merely the fifth most-expensive metro area in the US. (And if you’re looking to buy — ba ha ha! — 81 percent of San Fran’s homes are worth a million or more, whereas “only” about a fifth of LA’s housing stock is valued in the million-plus range.)

… Just as long as you don’t look down.

But Los Angeles governs a bigger, more patchwork landscape than its superiors in the rent-gouging race. The top end of the rental market in LA is heavily loaded, but so is the bottom; if you wanted to see the middle class get wiped out in real time, you’ve come to the right place.

If you want a safe no-frills apartmentfor a reasonable price, you have come to the WRONG place. Your choices: trash castle, or actual castle. On the ocean shore, you can live in a hippie Star Trek bungalow, where the art installment wipes your ass for you.

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China, Iran, Russia to start military drills in Indian Ocean, Sea of Oman on Friday Reply

Watch here.

Iran, Russia and China have begun a four-day joint maritime exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman area.

The “Marine Security Belt,” as the event is codenamed, will last until Monday. On Wednesday, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman for Iranian Armed Forces, said the event was meant to promote the security of international trade in the strategic regions, adding that sharing experience in maritime rescue operations was also to be pursued in the maneuvers.

The Signs Swirl All Around Us, so Is the Monetary Reset at Hand? Reply

By Chris Powell

For most of this decade owning gold and gold-related investments has required the patience of Job, and the sector is so obscure that it is hard to be sure of anything.

But for months now the unusual developments have been piling up so much that it may be possible to regain some optimism.

There are indications of a shortage of metal not just at the New York Commodities Exchange, where for months now most contracts have been settled through a supposedly “emergency” procedure called “exchange for physicals,” but also in London, the hub of the world gold market, where the usual flow of metal to Switzerland recently reversed, with metal flowing back to London amid increasing demand.

This corresponded with announcements of gold acquisitions by central banks that had not shown any interest in gold.

For months, the usual central bank-inspired smashes in the gold futures markets have not been having much effect, even as Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) consultant Robert Lambourne has reported increasing intervention in the market by the Bank for International Settlements

The Comex has just quickly authorized a vast expansion in what bullion banks can use as collateral for their selling – “pledged gold” held off the exchange, supposedly in London, for whose existence and unimpairment there is no public evidence.

More…

Many Japanese children refuse to go to school 1

Alessia Cerantola
BBC

In Japan, more and more children are refusing to go to school, a phenomenon called “futoko”. As the numbers keep rising, people are asking if it’s a reflection of the school system, rather than a problem with the pupils themselves.

Ten-year-old Yuta Ito waited until the annual Golden Week holiday last spring to tell his parents how he was feeling – on a family day out he confessed that he no longer wanted to go to school.

For months he had been attending his primary school with great reluctance, often refusing to go at all. He was being bullied and kept fighting with his classmates. More…

Federal study confirms racial bias of many facial-recognition systems, casts doubt on their expanding use 3

Drew Harwell
The Washington Post

Dec. 19, 2019 at 3:43 p.m. PST

Facial-recognition systems misidentified people of color more often than white people, a landmark federal study released Thursday shows, casting new doubts on a rapidly expanding investigative technique widely used by law enforcement across the United States. More…

US call to Japan indicates ‘divergence of interests’ with regard to Iran Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

US President Donald Trump’s phone call to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss a recent trip by the Iranian president to the East Asian country reveals an escalating “divergence of interests” between Tokyo and Washington in their relationship with Tehran, an American analyst in Virginia says.

“What’s happening here is that the interests of the United States and Japan are diverging quite a bit in terms of their actual foreign policy goals in relationship to Iran,” Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com, said in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday.

“Japan is a country that is closely aligned with the United States but also has a much different set of interests when it comes to Iran,” he added. “The primary interest that Japan has when it comes to Iran is that it simply imports petroleum produced in Iran. It would be in the interest of Japan to simply normalize relationship with Iran because it would be beneficial to the Japanese economy.”

Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing a government source, said on Saturday that Trump had requested the phone call a day after Abe met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tokyo, the first meeting in Japan between leaders of the two countries since 2000 and a major development that could affect a current political stand-off between Iran and the United States.

Trump phones Japan’s Abe to discuss meeting with Iran president: Report

Trump phones Japan’s Abe to discuss meeting with Iran president: ReportJapan’s Kyodo says Trump has talked over phone to PM Abe to discuss his meeting with Iran

“The interaction between President Trump and the prime minister of Japan indicates the ways in which the divergence of interests of the two countries are becoming more manifest and this will probably continue to escalate in the future,” Preston said.

“We will see Japan as well as other countries becoming increasingly critical and skeptical of the position that the United States has taken regarding Iran even if it’s not in their interest,” he added.

Japan heavily relies on energy imports from the Middle East. It used to be a major buyer of Iranian oil before the American sanctions were imposed on Tehran more than a year ago.

Japan’s Abe has sought to help de-escalate tensions between Iran and the US, especially since May this year when several incidents in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman sparked worries about a major military conflict that could impact the safety of energy transport throughout the region.

The premier visited Iran in June in a historic visit that many saw as an attempt to broker a dialogue between Iran and the US.

Iran has dismissed calls for direct talks with the US, saying such negotiations would only be possible if Washington removes all of its illegal sanctions and returns to a landmark nuclear deal signed between the country and world powers in 2015.

US using China, Russia threat to justify its military–industrial complex: Analyst Reply

PressTV. Listen here.

The United States is magnifying and overstating the growing threat posed from China and Russia to justify maintaining the country’s armed interventions and its military–industrial complex, an American analyst in Virginia says.

“We have to understand that the United States regards Russia and China as insurgent nations against US hegemony,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.

The US “now sees Russia and China as much greater geopolitical rivals than it did perhaps some years ago,” Preston told Press TV.

“We also have to consider that the United States military–industrial complex is extremely powerful…and it’s clearly necessary for the expenditures that are provided to the military production to be justified somehow,” he added.

Pentagon chief says plans to shift US military focus to Russia, China

Pentagon chief says plans to shift US military focus to Russia, ChinaUS Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says he aims to shift the American military

President Donald Trump’s administration has shifted focus away from the Middle East and toward countering Russia and China, two countries seen increasingly as a threat by Washington.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Friday that China and Russia were the Pentagon’s top two priorities, as they pose a challenge to the world order through their rising military power and various tools of influence.

“Both nations are rapidly modernizing their armed forces and expanding their capabilities into the space and cyber domains,” Esper said during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Esper also said that it is important to develop fifth-generation wireless technologies to counter China’s 5G developments.

The US has been implementing an Indo-Pacific strategy, a combination of military and geoeconomic policies in the hopes of containing China’s military expansion in the Pacific and the Indian oceans.

Erdogan: Turkey will not turn back from deals signed with legitimate Libyan government Reply

Watch here.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara will step up its support for the internationally-recognized government in Libya, if necessary.

Erdogan said Turkey will absolutely remain committed to the military and maritime agreements it has signed with the Libyan government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The Turkish president said his country is fully aware of the reasons behind efforts to topple the UN-backed government of al-Sarraj. Erdogan’s comments came a day after forces loyal to Libyan renegade commander Khalifa Haftar seized a Turkish ship to search its cargo. The forces have been engaged in military operations against Libya’s UN-backed government troops near the capital Tripoli for months now. 

(Happy Christmas) Forever War Is Over: If You Want It…. 3

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

So this is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.

I’ve always loved this season but I’ve never been much for Christmas carols. The new ones are moronic garbage and the old churchy ones tend to depress the shit out of me. Too many ugly memories of being a differently gendered dirty secret in a harsh Catholic climate. Too many old wounds. Some still haven’t healed. Some probably never will.

Since I’m in the confessional kinda mood, I might as well admit that I’ve never been completely sold on the apparent sanctity of The Beatles either. They’re not a bad band, the hype just always felt a touch contrived to me. To be perfectly honest with you, they always struck me as a glorified boy band before they dropped acid, and even then they always sounded second fiddle to The Rolling Stones shambolic heroin blues.

But I’ve always loved John Lennon. I spent about 15 minutes as a teenage hippie between Goth and punk, and John and those fantastic Yippies are the only two relics that remain. I’ve also always loved Yoko. I felt that she brought the best out of John, artistically, politically and spiritually, not to mention being a brilliant provocateur in her own right. For this she was naturally rewarded with the brand of chauvinistic racism and sexism that often creeped just beneath the hippie veneer. And it was John and Yoko who created the one Christmas carol I truly cherish outside of the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) didn’t begin as a hit song. It began as part of an avante garde guerrilla marketing campaign to coincide with John and Yoko’s ’69 Bed-ins. Billboards across 12 major cities worldwide were decorated with the simple message “WAR IS OVER: If you want it- Happy Christmas from John and Yoko.” Two years later this message was set to the traditional English ballad “Skewball” and accompanied by the Harlem Community Choir. It was a deceptively radical message for mainstream radio, even in the peace and love era. In 1971 the war was far from over. There were still millions of bodies to be buried beneath blankets of napalm and Agent Orange. What John and Yoko were conjuring wasn’t a Utopian fantasy but a simple Christmas wish. Happy Christmas, in the name of god, cant this wicked war be over? It can. If you want it. And today, nearly half a century later, that wish seems more cruelly unfulfilled than ever.

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The Real Reasons Tulsi Gabbard Did Not Vote to Impeach Donald Trump 7

BINGO!

Sputnik News

” She also introduced a resolution calling on the House to censure Trump on five issues she implied were far more substantial. Those include carrying out wars without congressional approval, illegally “occupying and pillaging” Syria, “recklessly enabling” Turkey to invade Northern Syria and ethnically cleanse Kurds (a U.S. ally), continuing to support Saudi Arabia’s “genocidal war” in Yemen and scrapping nuclear agreements with Iran and Russia, thereby strongly increasing the risk of nuclear proliferation.”

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Jp Cortez: Sound Money State Index Identifies Friends & Enemies of Precious Metals Investors Reply

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in JP Cortez with the Sound Money Defense League, a nonpartisan national public policy organization working to restore sound money at the state and federal level. JP is a proponent of and has studied in the Austrian school of economics and his role at SMDL as Policy Director has him regularly testifying at legislative hearings and speaking at various events around the country. His articles and analysis have appeared in many national news publications including the Washington Examiner, Huffington Post, Mises Institute, Foundation For Economic Education and many more, and he’s a frequent guest on various podcasts and national radio shows to talk about the importance of sound money legislation. And it’s a real pleasure to have him back on here with us on the Money Metals Podcast.

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Globalization is Dead. Long Live the New World Order! Reply

The BRICS are merely the Eastern division of the global ruling class and largely consist of backwater provinces in international capitalism. It’s regrettable that so many “tankie” and “far-right” types (who are among the best critics of the Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabi axis) buy into the idea that the Eastern provinces are some kind of “alternative.” It was the same way in the 19th century when Marx and Engels were actually praising liberal-capitalist imperialism as progress with European social democrats in the early 20th century assuming a similar stance, and Western leftists in the Cold War period praising god-emperor states as the supposed enlightened future of humanity.